ASTR 412
Heliophysics Fall 2021
Division III
Cross-listed PHYS 412
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Class Details

We study all aspects of the Sun, our nearest star. In addition to discussing our observations of recent eclipses and what has been learned about the solar atmosphere from eclipse research, we discuss the solar interior (including the Nobel-prize-winning solar neutrino experiment and helioseismology), the photosphere, the chromosphere, the corona, and the solar wind. We discuss the Sun as an example of stars in general. We discuss both theoretical aspects and observational techniques, including work at recent total solar eclipses. We discuss results from current spacecraft, including the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Sun Watcher (SWAP), and Hinode (Sunrise), and the newer GOES/UVSI (Solar Ultraviolet Imager) run by an alumnus as well as additional Total Solar Irradiance measurements from spacecraft. We will discuss the role of solar observations in confirming Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with the bending of light at the 1919, 1922, and 2017 total solar eclipses as well as gravitational redshift measurements in solar spectral lines, extending our discussion to the recent “chirp” of gravitational radiation reported from several colliding black holes and neutron stars observed with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO). We also discuss transits of Mercury across the face of the Sun, most recently on November 11, 2019. We highlight the 2004 and 2012 transits of Venus across the face of the Sun as observed from Earth, the first such transits of Venus since 1882, as well as our work in observing transits of Venus from Jupiter with the Hubble Space Telescope. We discuss plans for observing future total solar eclipses, including those of December 4, 2021, near or over Antarctica; October 23, 2023, in northwestern Australia; and April 8, 2024, over Mexico and a U.S. path from Texas to northern New England.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1010
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: biweekly tutorial presentations; biweekly response to colleagues' presentations
Prerequisites: ASTR 111 or a 200-level Physics course; or permission of the instructor
Distributions: Division III
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
PHYS 412 Division III ASTR 412 Division III

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